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ID: HR23-57
Presenting author: Taylor Edelmann

Presenting author biography:

Taylor works at National Harm Reduction Coalition as the LGBTQIA+ Health & Harm Reduction Manager. He oversees Lighthouse Learning Collective, which brings together Queer Harm Reductionists to focus on developing and integrating collective knowledge around harm reduction practices to support LGB/TGNC+ people who use drugs and engage in sex work.

Queering Harm Reduction: Lessons Learned from Lighthouse Learning Collective

Taylor Edelmann
Despite harm reduction's origin stemming from queer and BIPOC leaders, much of that visibility and appreciation has been lost. To fully address the needs of people who use drugs, those who engage in sex work, and LGBTQIA+ communities, we need to allow spaces where they can interact. How can we create affirming spaces for queer harm reductionists to address the unique needs of our communities, and what would that look like?

Often, harm reduction or LGB/TGNC+ serving organizations are ill-equipped to meet the varying needs of these communities. Lighthouse Learning Collective offers space for strategy, support, and resources for LGB/TGNC+ folks who use drugs and engage in sex work by bringing together community members and harm reduction organizations that serve these communities to enhance services and transform systems.

Despite being focused in NYC, Lighthouse Learning Collective has amassed a following that has received significant interest beyond state lines, highlighting the need for such spaces. The collective meets monthly to discuss potential projects, network, promote community events/resources and provide a space for members to workshop their content (abstracts, trainings, presentations, discussions). Recent projects have included a monthly campaign to recognize TGNC harm reductionists and developing an 8-session learning series on queer harm reduction basics.

This presentation will give an overview of the purpose and importance of the Lighthouse Learning Collective and will offer lessons learned since its launch.